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Epernay, Manchester Airport

Simon Binns takes his passport to a bar for the first time in 16 years

Written by . Published on March 7th 2011.

Epernay, Manchester Airport

IF YOU WANT to go on holiday, chances are you’ll have to go to an airport. It’s where the planes live, for a start.

‘It’s actually pleasant, especially if you’re flying long haul, to find somewhere to relax in the airport with a nice glass of wine, champers or beer and settle in with a newspaper. In this respect, Epernay is a haven.’

Apart from that, there’s often little to look forward to about the whole process, which involves several conversations about liquids and gels, having to get undressed at a conveyor belt, and preparing to be ripped off for a horrible all day breakfast and a pint of pap lager.

Manchester Airport, it has to be said, has improved its retail offering hugely in recent times. Now the food and drink element of Terminal 1 has taken a step up, with the opening of a new Epernay champagne bar.

Located in the left hand corner of the concourse, after the main drag of shops, Epernay is a pretty looking addition to the existing mix. It mirrors the look of its city centre sister on Watson Street, plenty of dark wood, leather and twinkly lights.

We’d been invited across to give it the once over, and first impressions were good.It’s actually pleasant, especially if you’re flying long haul, to find somewhere to relax in the airport with a nice glass of wine, champers or beer and settle in with a newspaper. In this respect, Epernay is a haven.

It was great to be able to order half a dozen good-quality oysters (£9.95) and a bottle of Billecart-Salmon (£46) too – your holiday does start at the airport, so you might as well go the whole hog. The food was impressive – we tried the minute steak (£8.95) and the beef bourguignon (£7.95), which were several levels above a reheated sausage and twangy bacon rashers.

Then came the cocktail making course. Yes, you can do that here too, which is a far better way to while away time than wandering aimlessly through the terminal in search of a travel-sized bottle of something-or-other.

We made four drinks – Kir Royale, Mojito, Cosmopolitan and an Old-Fashioned – then drank them too. The only hardship will be making sure you don’t get too tipsy to get on the plane, although I always find sunglasses and a strong mint help on that front.

Epernay can be good fun and offers something a bit different, but above all else, it’s a very nice bar in a place where there isn’t much else to speak of. Terminal 1, prepared for a bubbly take-off.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

JayMarch 8th 2011.

What cocktail is the HP sauce going into?

BaggyMarch 8th 2011.

Mr Binns.
You get paid for doing this? !
It's almost like having proper job.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2011.

We went to Epernay early February prior to flight out to Goa. My overriding memory was of the open kitchen area with some sweaty, scruffy, student type mooching about. It wasn't busy but I assume he was the chef since he seemed to be cooking scraps for himself and continually eating. It was quite mesmorising actually. The rest of the kitchen looked filthy. Proper filthy, like student bedsit out of The Young Ones. The bar area also looked a bit neglected, with A4 ringbinders (staff rotas for eating in the kitchen shifts I think) on display. Our bench area was unwiped and full of crumbs.
Sorry but it just didn't have a good feel about it and next time I think I'll have five pints of Grolsch in the other bar like we normally do.

GordoMarch 8th 2011.

Are you and Jorgy getting married Simon?

Mark JorgensenMarch 9th 2011.

He's not asked yet, but I think he's being tactically aloof Gordo.

Simon BinnsMarch 9th 2011.

Almost Baggy, almost.

And yes Gordo, we are. I've decided the wedding will be on the same day as Wills and Kate tie the knot, to see which couple is more popular.

lucy vanMarch 10th 2011.

I call best woman for Jorgy.

Simon BinnsMarch 10th 2011.

I was hoping, Lucy, you'd be the one shouting 'nooooooooooo' when the vicar asks if anyone has anything to say.

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